- Published on 10 November 2014
- Written by Chronicle
VICE President Joice Mujuru allegedly directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development to issue her family business with a permit to import chickens from Brazil against a government ban on such imports.
VP Mujuru allegedly directed the Ministry's permanent Secretary Ringson Chitsiko to issue the permit. This was after she had allegedly struck a deal to import chickens from Brazil when she travelled to that country on official Government business in 2011.
VP Mujuru also used the opportunity to sign several other family deals. This was despite an outcry by local poultry producers that chicken imports were killing local farmers.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told legislators attending a pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls that they should investigate the matter and establish who authorised the import permit.
Without mentioning VP Mujuru by name, Cde Chinamasa said the decision to issue the permit amounted to shooting "ourselves in the foot".
The permit was issued even though Cde Chinamasa had invoked a legal instrument banning the importation of chickens to protect local farmers. Earlier on, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, had grilled the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Cde Paddy Zhanda, over the matter demanding to know who had issued the import permit.
Cde Zhanda would not reveal the name, only saying the chicken import permit had since been withdrawn. He said the permit was withdrawn after it was discovered that people misrepresented to the ministry that the chickens were to be donated to the Zimbabwe National Army when in fact they were being sold on the open market.
"You've heard here from the horse's mouth. In my mid-term statement I banned the importation of chickens and so on. The very ministry which asked us to ban went ahead and issued the permit to undermine that very policy. Do you get the import of that? Only Parliament can expose that, not just exposing to say the ministry but we want to know who did it and for what reason" asked Cde Chinamasa while addressing more than 300 MPs.
Cde Chinamasa challenged the legislators to investigate the chicken import scandal to establish who gave such authority in the wake of a legal fiscal instrument banning such imports.
In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Cde Mutsvangwa named VP Mujuru as the culprit.
He accused VP Mujuru of conniving with Chitsiko and circumventing the ban.
"There was a bigger political motive. The collapse of the poultry industry in Zimbabwe points to VP Mujuru and Permanent Secretary Chitsiko. They're very close connections and I've known them from my days when I was Ambassador in China. They used to come," said Cde Mutsvangwa.
"If you bring smuggled poultry and pig products from outside our borders at prices that are well below the local farmer, it means you are ruining the commercial farmer. That's exactly what happened. You have effectively sabotaged the land reform programme because no Zimbabwean farmer can be viable."
He added: "It was the most effective way of saying the land reform programme has failed and thereby justifying the return of whites."
Cde Mutsvangwa said VP Mujuru was delivering some of the imported chicken to the Zimbabwe National Army so as to buy their loyalty in her illegal regime change efforts.